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Tue, 12.18.1866

George Washington Foster, Architect born

George Washington Foster

*George Washington Foster was born on this date in 1866. He was a Black architect. George Washington Foster, Jr., was born in Virginia. His father was a black carriage stripper, and his white mother was a descendant of Jefferson Davis. He moved to Newark, New Jersey, at the age of four.

Foster attended night school at Cooper Union, studied architecture, and worked as a draftsman at the Henry J. Hardenburg firm. Foster, during this period of apprenticeship, was on board when the firm constructed both the Plaza Hotel and the Dakota apartment building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived. He was part of the planning and building of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1892. Through his affiliation with Hardenburg and his firm, Foster earned both a meaningful living and a reputation. So fruitful was their relationship that Foster named one of his sons Henry Hardenburg Foster. There is even a citation that Foster was part of the team of architects who constructed the Flatiron Building.

By the turn of the century, Foster and his wife, Carrie, had relocated to Park Ridge, New Jersey, residing in a house he designed and built. Here he and Carrie raised their six children. He was among the first black architects licensed by the State of New Jersey in 1908 and later in New York (1916). Foster partnered with Vertner Woodson Tandy in the firm of Tandy and Foster, which was active from 1908 to 1914. He died on December 20, 1923, at 57.

To Become an Architect



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